Without perpetuating the body/mind split what can we learn about the organic healing process of the body that can be applied to psychological/emotional wounds and the inherent ideal factors for facilitating or hindering the healing process.
Being in the midst of exploring the complexity of psychological trauma has generated a lot of reflections and in the process of trying to flesh out my thoughts Ralph Strauch’s short but powerful article has been very influential.
One of these reflections is wondering if there's an emotional equivalent, and if so what that may be, to psychological trauma as there is in physical trauma which goes through distinct overlapping healing stages:
- Inflammation – a normal part of the healing process with nutrients and oxygen drawn to the wound or needed for healing.
- Growth and rebuilding – new tissue starts to be built.
- Strengthening – within 3 months, the wound is about 70% as strong in its repair as before the trauma. The entire healing process might take a couple of years to complete.
This is what happens with a fresh injury however on an emotional level most therapists work with healed over wounds compounded by scars which once formed restricts or limits flexibility and functioning. Thus the work also inherently involves breaking down (emotional) scar tissue with the resulting release of emotions and accompanying pain previously disconnected with.
So my question is, in an age of goals and outcomes where does healing fit into our thinking, approach and engagement with therapy?